Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker said, “I don’t know,” when asked if being gay was a choice during a Sunday appearance on CNN’s “State of the Union.”
The Republican 2016 presidential candidate, who is currently ranking near or at the top of polls in the first primary caucus state of Iowa, gave the answer while weighing in on previous statements he’d made regarding the Boy Scouts’ ban on gay troop leaders. In a recent interview with the Independent Journal Review, Walker, a former Eagle Scout himself, reportedly said he supported the gay ban because “it protected children and advanced Scout values.” Later, in an interview with The New York Times, Walker explained that “the protection was not a physical protection,” and that he wanted young people to be spared the “political and media discussion” about gay rights.
On Sunday, when asked about sexual preference Walker claimed “that’s not even an issue for me to be involved in.” However when pressed by CNN host Dana Bash, he said: “I don’t know. I don’t know the answer to that question. So, I’m saying I don’t know what the answer to that is. And I’m going to spend my time focused on things that I do know and I can work on.”
The Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the nation’s largest LGBT civil rights group, called Walker’s comments on homosexuality “appalling” in a statement on Sunday. “Of course it isn’t a choice. If it was, Scott Walker would be able to tell us when he chose to be straight,” said JoDee Winterhof, Senior Vice President of Policy and Political Affairs for the HRC.
Walker’s remarks were reminiscent of a controversial answer he gave The Washington Post in February about President Obama’s religious faith. When asked if he believed the president is a Christian, Walker reportedly said: “I don’t know.”
“I’ve actually never talked about it or I haven’t read about that,” he added. “I’ve never asked him that.”
Later a Walker spokesman said that “of course,” the governor believes the president is a Christian. Despite routinely asserting his Christian faith, many far right critics of the president have alleged that he is secretly a Muslim.
Meanwhile, Walker continues to draw intense criticism for his staunchly conservative positions on gay rights. He favors a Constitutional amendment to allow states to ban gay marriage, a position that puts him at odds with not just the Supreme Court but many of his fellow 2016 GOP candidates.
“I’ve had this opinion for more than 20 years,” Walker said at the Family Leadership Summit in Iowa on Saturday. “I believe marriage is between one man and one woman.”